Winter Pests Are a Reality in Charlotte

Cracks appearing in an interior wallSome people think that winter pests don’t exist in Charlotte, NC but they most certainly do, and infestations are no joking matter! It is much easier to prevent a pest problem than to face one head on. Wintertime attracts termites, stink bugs, roaches and other crawling critters into your home through the cracks and crevices in your walls, chimneys and other entryways unless you take proper preventive precautions.

Common Winter Pests & Their Destructive Qualities

Pests target the warmth in your home as a safe and appealing place to survive the winter. Here’s a list of destructive qualities of pests that you can avoid altogether this winter through prevention:

  • Physical damage to the structure of your home and personal belongings
  • Contamination of walls and surfaces
  • Infestation of food products
  • Adverse effects to your health by spreading germs and irritating allergies
  • Disruption to your comfort and sense of well-being

Spiders, mice, roaches, termites and more are some examples of the critters you could find in your family room, garage and basement so best practice is to take action and prevent the problem before it starts.

What to Do for Winter Pest Issues

To safeguard your home from pests this winter, here are some pest control and prevention tips:

  • Seal up cracks in the walls, ceilings and flooring when first cold hits
  • Block entryways, fix window screens and chimney screens
  • Maintain a clean yard free of debris
  • Avoid leaving standing water or damp spots
  • Clean up potential nesting areas and remove cobwebs

If you find unwanted critters like ants, roaches or mice have already entered your home to escape the cold, call a pest management company like Truly Nolen Charlotte who can end the infestation promptly and manage further prevention. If you would like to take precautionary measures to safeguard your home against pests, Truly Nolen Charlotte also specializes in pest prevention programs. Don’t let anything bug you this winter, call an expert at 704-910-2936 to handle all your pest control needs.

The Remarkable Bee Brain: Why Humans and Bees May Share the Same Love for Novelty-Seeking Activities

The Remarkable Bee Brain

While we know that bees live in highly organized, efficient societies with each bee performing distinct duties in the colony in the service of the queen, researchers have come to the conclusion that some bees, like novelty-seeking humans display exploratory tendencies, indicating that some bees respond in the same way some humans do to thrill-seeking activities.

In a 2012 study published in the journal Science, University of Illinois professor and Institute for Genomic Biology director, Gene Robinson, along with a team of graduate students, discovered that humans and bees share some of the same gene activity patterns in molecular pathways related to thrill-seeking and an innate sense of adventure, formerly thought only to exist in humans and other vertebrates.

Only a few bees in a swarm exhibit the drive to find new food sources and new homes

Bee adventurers “go the extra mile” for the survival of their colonies. In bee hives, only certain bees leave hives to hunt for new food sources and to find new accommodations once populations outgrow their current hives.

These “scout” bees, all females, take the initiative to fly out and hunt for new nests at a critical point when the hive divides and swarms of bees must find new homes in order for the hive to survive. Only about 5% of the swarm feels a higher calling and researchers also found that these nest scouts were, incidentally 3.4 times more likely to become food scouts, as well.

The fact that some scout bees will fly out repeatedly to find different sources for food and will also engage in missions, in search of new lodging points to “the gold standard in personality behavior,” according to Robinson. That standard showing “the same tendencies in different contexts,” points to bees exhibiting personality traits. That one bee might be predisposed to certain exceptional behavior, while others are not, suggests that bees might, in fact, possess personalities.

Researchers studied the gene activity in bees’ brains with surprising results

In the Illinois study, researchers set out to determine “the molecular basis for these differences in honey bee behavior,” using “whole-genome microarray analysis to look for differences in the activity of thousands of genes in the brains of scouts and non-scouts.”

While Robinson said that given all bees are foragers, non-scouts and scouts alike, they expected to see some differences in gene activity in scouting and non-scouting brains, but they were surprised at the degree of differences in brain activity between the two study groups.

Researchers are trying to understand what makes human and other animals seek novelty experiences

Studying what makes humans and other animals engage in novelty-seeking behaviors, researchers are tossing around theories related to how thrill-seeking behavior is associated with the brain’s reward system, in response to certain experiences.

Robinson’s team found similarities in bees’ brains related to regulating novelty-seeking in vertebrates

Because researchers in the University of Illinois study found “many of the differentially expressed genes,” in bee brains that related to GABA signaling in humans and other vertebrates, they narrowed their focus to catecholamine, glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid, as these neuro-transmitters are “involved in regulating novelty-seeking and responding to rewards in vertebrates.”

Testing their theories, Robinson and associates subjected groups of bees to these chemicals to determine whether or not changes in brain signaling caused novelty-seeking behavior in bees. The research group found that the chemicals glutamate and octopamine increased scouting behavior in previously non-scouting bees, that is to say, bees that had never scouted before. The team also concluded that when they blocked dopamine signaling, scouting behavior decreased.

Similar genetic tool kits evident in behavioral evolution of humans and other animals

Robinson said that this study showed that novelty-seeking behavior in humans, other vertebrates and now insects it appears, evolved along parallel genetic pathways.  Nature’s genetic “tool kit – the genes encoding certain molecular pathways,” may be responsible for thrill-seeking behavior in different species, each adapting their own definition of novelty-seeking behavior to their own social structures. Evidently, the same molecular pathways have been used repeatedly in the evolution to generate novelty-seeking behavior.

Bees and other stinging pests

While honeybees are essential to our survival as the globe’s most significant pollinators and do not usually attack people and pets, unless their colony is threatened, they still pose threats to human health as their venom can cause serious allergic reactions in sensitive people. Also, in recent years, feral bees that existed peacefully among ranchers and farmers, for decades are now showing aggression to people and animals, leading scientists to believe that all feral US bee populations have become Africanized.

Trust Truly Nolen

Although bee activity decreases in cooler climates, during the fall and winter, in warmer areas, bee activity continues all year long. In Southern parts of the US, bees are as common in the fall as leaves changing. Considered nuisance pests around your home or business any time of year, bees and wasps should be handled by a professional pest control company.  Truly Nolen eliminates bees and wasps on your property and offers beehive removal and other programs, such as scout traps to deter bees from settling in too close for comfort to you and your loved ones. Contact Truly Nolen to schedule a free pest inspection and to determine an appropriate plan to keep your home pest-free, throughout the year.

A Brief History of the Mousetrap

A Brief History of the Mousetrap

As temps cool this holiday season, rodents and pests may find your home an inviting location to settle in for a long winter’s nap. Truly Nolen takes a look at the history of the mousetrap, as we wish you a very happy and healthy holiday season. Truly Nolen also suggests contacting a professional pest control company should you detect any activity of the scurrying sort that threatens to ruin your jovial festivities. Co-existing with humans throughout history, rodents pose health threats to humans and pets and can cause extensive damage to homes. For these reasons and others, a lengthy list of rodent-ridding devices has crossed the threshold of the patent office over time.

Rodents have fueled humans’ obsession with inventing the perfect mousetrap for centuries

It seems humans have always been obsessed by the desire to invent the perfect mousetrap. In a 15th century triptych depicting Joseph’s carpentry studio, the artist Merode painted a box with a hinged lid and a torsion-sprung device that captured mice in a box, when triggered.  Preceding the humane Merode mousetraps, medieval accounts of guillotine-type traps can be found.

Probably the first patented mousetrap, it involved a wire caging device that captured mice alive. Patented in 1870 by South Carolinian, K. Bachman, numerous variations of this type of humane live capture traps existed at the time.

The “Royal No. 1,” established the mousetrap in the industrial age

According to historians, although New Yorker, James M. Keep patented the first lethal mousetrap in November 1879, “it was evident from the patent description,” that his was not the only mousetrap around at the time, but an industrial age design that replaced the deadfall mechanism with a wound spring and a simpler, easy to manufacture design. Keep’s “Royal No. 1” traps are now constructed from lightweight plastic and safer for anyone setting the traps than other lethal mousetraps.

The classic spring-loaded mousetrap patented by Illinois native, William C Hooker

Shortly after Keep’s innovation, in 1894, Illinois native, William C. Hooker first patented the more familiar spring-loaded device, recognized today as the classic mousetrap. Improving on Hooker’s design, in 1898, British inventor, James Henry Atkinson patented the “Little Nipper,” that included a weight-activated treadle, as a tripping mechanism.  The Little Nipper, with its rectangular flat, wooden base, spring trap and wire fastenings still holds the record for its 38,000th of a second closing speed.

James Henry Atkinson’s Little Nipper still leads the market in spring-loaded mousetraps

While Pennsylvanian John Mast patented a similar mouse trap in 1899, Atkinson’s Little Nipper continues to capture 60% of the British, as well as the international, mousetrap market share. Since 1913, when Atkinson sold his patent to his manufacturer, the Procter Brothers, for £2,000. The UK company has been making the “Pest Stop Little Nipper” in its Yorkshire, then its South Wales factories. Procter Brothers’ headquarters even houses a mousetrap museum featuring 150 exhibits.

In recent developments, mousetraps come in many forms

Different types of mousetraps have been developed over time, including simple DIY toilet paper rolls extending over a deep bucket or some sort of container that tips mice into the container when they are drawn to bait placed at the end of the roll. In the 1920s, Austin Kness received a patent for his live capture device, the Kness-Ketch All Multiple Catch trap that uses no bait and can trap several mice at a time. Other innovations in mousetraps include the controversial glue trap and electric traps. Along with the Kness device and the Little Nipper, these inventions comprise a list of about twenty mousetraps that proved commercially successful, out of the more than 4,400 mousetrap issued.

Rodent issues should be handled professionally

While mousetraps can help reduce rodent populations in homes, homeowners should be aware that a professional pest control company will save time, money and help to keep your spirits merry and bright. Because rodent populations grow at rapid rates, addressing a rodent issue as soon as possible is essential. Also, rodents, especially rats, tend to be wary of new things in their environments, so reducing rodent populations can take a long time, if not skillfully attended to.

Traps and commercial baits can be messy and dangerous to small children and pets and rodent carcasses can be difficult to find, behind wall voids and other hard-to-reach places. Additionally, cleaning rodent waste and eliminating the diseases and pathogens associated with vectors and feasting insects should be left to professionals.

Contact Truly Nolen to schedule a free pest inspection and devise a customized plan to eliminate rodents from your home.

Truly Nolen’s innovative, pet- and people-friendly approach

  • Exclusion: Sealing all cracks, crevices and other entranceways to your home, around your foundation, as well as around windows and doors.
  • Reduction: The regular removal of rodent carcasses ensures rodent carcasses are located and disposed of properly without chemicals. Our technicians also treat vectors, such as fleas and ticks.  After rodents are eliminated, Truly Nolen technicians use a specially designed HEPA vacuuming system to safely remove feasting insect and vector materials from your home.
  • Monitoring: Keeping your home and your specific needs first, Truly Nolen monitors all traps until all rodents are eliminated.

Help prevent rodents from entering your home

You can exclude and make your home unattractive to rodents, by:

  • Regularly cleaning and sanitizing all food prep and dining areas.
  • Securely storing all open dried goods in glass, metal or hard plastic containers.
  • Storing open food containers in the fridge and discarding all leftover food in closed trash receptacles.
  • Regularly cleaning and sanitizing outdoor trash receptacles.
  • Removing debris and clutter from the interior and exterior of your home, and trimming branches away from your home.

Contact Truly Nolen to prevent or eliminate rodents from your home and devise a plan to keep your home rodent-free. By regularly cleaning and sanitizing your home and property and keeping cracks and crevices sealed, chances are, rodents will head on down to the Griswolds’ for the holidays. Happy wishes to you and yours during this special time of year!